Role Reversal: My Aging Mother Could Hear But I Couldn’t

As my mother got older, our roles reversed, as they will when a parent reaches the ninth and even 10th decade. But there was one way in which she grew stronger, while I grew weaker. She could hear, and I couldn’t.Mom and me 2013 In her 80s, my mother’s mind and body succumbed to aging. She developed dementia, she had frequent falls and was often wheelchair bound. But she never lost her hearing.

Still, the loss of my hearing created an enormous gulf. As I think of my mother this mother’s day, I also think of all that I missed.

Most people’s hearing problems are not as severe as mine. But if you’re having trouble hearing an elderly parent with a whispery voice — or if the parent is having trouble hearing you — don’t let that happen. If you or the parent is not ready for hearing aids, buy yourself a handheld device such as a pocket talker. But whatever solution you come up with, don’t let those words be lost forever.

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